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SERGEI BEKHTEYEV/ PRINCE VLADIMIR PALEI

POETS

Sergei Bekhteyev, a nobleman, was Leader of the Noblemen's Assembly in the town of Oryol. He fought in the White Army. He emigrated. He had a personal; correspondence with the Royal Family while they were imprisoned. His poem 'Give us patience, O Lord' was found in the personal papers of the Grand Princess Olga Nikolaevna, written out in her hand.

'The Dream of the elderly nun of Diveevo' was included in a book of poetry he published in Munich in Germany. 'This dream described by me was told to me by my relative Artzibushev in the town of Yelets in December 1917, to which he came directly from Sarov, where he held a service of prayer for the life of the Emperor and personally saw and talked to the nun.' Sergei Bekhteyev.


Prince Vladimir Palei was the son of the Grand Duke Pavel (the Fifth son of Alexander the Second) and Olga Valerianovna Palei (Karnovich) was born in 1897 in the suburb of Boulogne near Paris in France. In 1908 he came to St Petersburg, aged 11.

He was educated at the Corps of Pages. He fought in the First World War and was a cavalry officer. In spring 1915 he was given the St Anne's Award for bravery. In August 1916, his first book of poetry came out. In the winter of 1917 his anti-revolutionarist poems started to appear, among them an epigram 'Mirrors', on Alexander Kerensky, which someone put specially on Kerensky's table. Prince Vladimir Palei was ordered out of Petrograd. His mother remembers in her memoirs: 'It's not known why this order was not carried out, this could have saved his life.' In March 1918 the chief of the Petrograd Secret Police ordered that all men who belonged to the house of the Romanovs be registered. Prince Vladimir had a different name - Palei. Uritsky offered him a compromise. His sister, Maria Pavlovna, remembered: 'In their meeting Volodya, once and for all, refused to renounce his father and all the Romanovs.' On 26th of March newspapers published a decree: 'On the banishment of all the Romanovs from the province'.

Vladimir, together with the Drand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich, with three Princes Konstantinovichi: Ioann, Igor and Konstantin were sent under guard to Vyatka. On 20th of May they were transferred to Alapaevsk where Elizaveta Fyodorovna (Ella, the sister of the Empress), and the nun Varvara who refused to leave her were held (there was also F.M. Remez - Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich's assistant). Late at night on 5(18) of July they all were driven to Verkhne-Synyachikhinsky factory where Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich was shot in the head with a revolver and died instantly, the rest of them were beaten up with rifle butts and while still alive were thrown into a very deep Nizhny-Selikamskuyu mine shaft. Burning wood and hand grenades were thrown on them, but twenty four hours later a witness still heard the faint singing of hymns from the shaft. They finally died of wounds and starvation.

On 15(28) of September Alapaevsk was freed from the Bolsheviks by the White Army. In October the bodies of the martyrs were found and buried. When in 1919 the White Army left Alapaevsk, the coffins with the bodies were delivered to Chita on personal order from Admiral A.V. Kolchak. Later the relics of the martyrs Grand Duke Sergei and of the Princes Konstantinovichi and of Vladimir were brought to Peking, where they were laid to rest in the Church of Serafim of Sarov in the Russian Mission. The relics of Elizaveta Fyodorovna and Varvara were sent to Jerusalem where they were in the crypt of the Russian Church of St Mary Magdalene in the Garden of Gethsemane. On 1 May 1982 the relics were transferred to St Mary Magdalene Church.

In 1981 Russian Orthodox Church abroad canonised Prince Vladimir Palei as the Russian Saint.

Prince Vladimir Palei


'Give us patience, O Lord,'
Poems by Sergei Bekhteyev and Prince Vladimir Palei


Sergei Bekhteyev

Give us patience, O Lord,
in the year of stormy, gloomy days,
to endure the people's persecution
and the tortures of our executioners.
Give us strength, Lord of justice,
to forgive the neighbour's evildoing
and to embrace the cross both heavy and bloody
and to meet it with your meekness.
And in the days of unrest of the people
when our enemies will rob us
to endure the disgrace and insults,
O, Christ the Saviour, help us.
The ruler of the world, the God of the Universe,
bless us with a prayer and give peace to the humble soul
in this unbearable, terrifying hour.
And right by the graveside
breathe into the mouths of your servants
power which is beyond all human powers,
to pray with humility for our enemies.


Prince Vladimir Palei

Chernye Rizy

Black vestments... Quiet singing.
Fond reflections of crimson lamps.
Almighty Lord! Give me patience.
Heaven and Hell struggle in my heart.

The whisper of prayer. Strict countenances.
Sky blue fumes of ringing censers.
Let me melt, Great God,
like the blue incense in front of You!

I'll go out of Church, and again
I'll break the sanctity of vows given to You.
O, Lord purify my sinful soul,
let it get stronger in eternal fight!

In the embrace life's thorns
give me the courage of brave words.
Black vestments. The evening twilight.
The sad eyes of yellow candles.


Ogonki

LIGHTS

In June's twilight, once in the war
I remember how I saw near by the forest edge,
under the bright star that was shining forth
a weak light appeared in a simple house.

Luring to the open space of the land of dreams
the evening star was shining with pride
and in the sleeping village below, among birches
the earthly light was twinkling, frightful, uneven.

But the blue fumes were coming up in a straight line
from the land's hearth to the star's burning
and I felt in my soul such an indistinct dream
that those lights shine in an elusive bond.

February 1917


Guard me, O Lord, from the enemy bullet
and let me be strong in my soul.
The impulses of good didn't fall asleep in me.
I'm so young that whether I want or not
I'm with you everywhere and in all...

Save me, O Lord, from a deadly wound
as you saved me from this life's evil
so I would go by the way of meekness and being useful,
so my soul would admire infinite beauty.

But if I fall in the ruthless battle
as the dedicated son of my Motherland,
let your servant die a Christian,
already indifferent to passions and sadness.
Let him glorify Your will.

Army in action September 1915


Sestry miloserdiya

SISTERS OF MERCY

Sisters of mercy, angels on earth,
kind and meek, a little bit sad.
You poured balm on ill hearts.
You are helpers given by God.

Blessings to you, sisters of tired souls.
Roses blossomed there on the battle field
and in bright-bright crimson the shining of crosses
quietly receiving the prayers of the wounded.


Sumerki

TWILIGHT

It's half dark,
but in the sky above the tired earth
on the golden domes
the crimson reflection is settling.

Calling for prayers,
those who are poor and deprived,
the crosses on high bell-towers
are still shining here and there.

As if the sun lingers
on every golden dome
and it wants to remind us
of him, who promised us Resurrection.

Petrograd February 1917


Nemaya noch' zhutka

The numb night is frightening

The numb night is frightening. Moments crawl.
The prisoner can't sleep. The soul is suffering.
The memories of these distant dear moments are coming.

All the time the guard walks,
not only a man just guarding a man.
No, gloomy Latvian
breathing hatred to your prisoner.

What for? What for? This thought striving from the soul.
This torture of moral suffering,
every hour of heavy waiting,
of threat of killings every moment in this silence.

The thought of the prisoner in prayer flies up high.
All that grows around it is so dull and low.
All my loved ones are so far away
and my enemies are so horribly close.

Vyatka, Imprisonment 1918


I love the uneven light of a lamp
in front of the dark countenance of God,
as if there is an hourly whisper
that speaks out humble words.

As if someone regardless
of what I sinned and lived with
always stands near Heaven's Gate
and prays to the Lord for me.

Mogilyov 1916


Translated by Olga Perry and Richard McKane



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